Madame Watson, co-owner of the gay-friendly adult company BlueToon Media, noted that because gay Internet erotica has become so competitive, more and more adult webmasters have been turning to niche marketing as a way of standing out. The gay adult market, Watson stressed, is not a single niche but rather a field in which webmasters are exploring a wide variety of niches and themes.
Indeed, the list of different gay themes on the adult Internet is endless. Bears (hairy gay men), twinks (young, boyish gay men), daddies (more mature gay men) and musclemen are popular gay niches, and gay ethnic niches also are quite prevalent; it isn't hard to find gay sites focusing specifically on black, Latino or Asian men.
And those ethnic sites have many variations. Some black and Latino gay adult sites feature men who look like soap opera stars; others favor more of a gangster rap/hip-hop-themed approach — Flava Works' ThugBoy.com, for example. Military themes are another niche in gay adult; GayGreenbacks' AWOLMarines.com and TopBucks' GayMilitaryXXX.com are two examples of military-themed gay sites. There is even a cult audience for gay hentai, gay erotic Japanese animation — TopBucks' GayHentaiXXX.com is an example of a gay hentai website.
Watson is no stranger to niche marketing. At BlueToon Media.com, one finds gay sites catering to specific tastes ranging from Latino twinks (TwinkLatinos.com, a BadPuppy.com site that BlueToon promotes) to BDSM leathermen (LeatherBound Sex.com).
"When you identify a site with a particular niche," Watson said, "you have to be consistent about what you give your audience. TwinkLatinos does well, but you aren't going to find twinks on LeatherBoundSex. If a site is called LeatherBoundSex, the men had better look like they belong in a dungeon."
Allen Adamski, administrator for the Los Angeles-based GayGreenbacks.com, pointed out that gay-friendly adult webmasters are not only competing with established gay membership sites, they are also competing with free gay sites. Creative niche marketing, he said, can help a webmaster make a name for himself/herself in an increasingly competitive market.
"There are tons of free sites out there," Adamski said, "and the free stuff tends to be the same stuff over and over. So with niche marketing one of the goals is to offer something that the free sites are not offering. An important part of niche marketing is having content that is exclusive to your website."
The amount of BDSM/fetish niches on the gay adult Internet is endless. From flogging, caning and spanking to tickle torture to CBT (cock and ball torture), just about every BDSM activity imaginable can be found in gay erotica. Gay BDSM sites can be incredibly specific; one might focus on steel bondage exclusively, while another might cater to rubber fetishists.
Andy Fair, the New York City-based president of DirtyBoyVideo.com and StraightBoysFucking.com, noted that gay sites catering to specific fetishes can have extremely loyal customers because fetishists can be downright obsessive about their fetishes.
"People who are only into certain things are so into them that they are willing to pay more for them and are willing to come back again and again," Fair said. "That's where the profit comes in. I believe that one of the things about having a fetish is that you are never satisfied — you always want more. And with fetishes, it isn't necessarily about the climax, it's about the process. You can never be satisfied because you are hooked on the process and not just on the climax."
Fair added that if an adult webmaster is going to market something really esoteric to gay customers, he/she needs to make sure that enough people will be into the subject matter.
"If nobody is interested in your particular interest or fetish," Fair asserted, "you're not going to sell. But if you can find an audience that shares your particular interest and find the right content, you can be successful with niche marketing."